Continuing a scene from my first book, Ghosts of Innocence.
Shayla has stolen the identity of a newly-appointed senior public servant, and infiltrated the Palace in disguise. She has previously fallen foul of her new boss, Mabbwendig ap Terlion, Master of the Emperor’s Domestic Household, and is confronting her again in the cavernous staff dining hall. Mabb has been tormenting a series of unfortunate individuals among the hundreds of people crowding the hall, and has just called on a very reluctant member of Shayla’s staff (Tanya) to sing to the crowd. Note: Tanya is from one of the northern fishing provinces, the same ethnicity as Shayla’s adopted identity.
Tanya edged into the center of the hall, one reluctant step after another, each step accompanied by jeers and catcalls.
"Hold!" Shayla stood. With a jerk of her head, she motioned Tanya to sit. "If my staff's talents displease you, I pay this bail from my own purse."
Mabb snarled as Tanya scuttled back to her seat. "Fishlanders swim together, hmm?" Her lips formed a thin line. "We still need entertainment, Master of Circuses."